Thursday, March 19, 2009

Say what?

Accents: Can you understand them, or is it all bliberty bloop to your ears?

Kudos to "Amy Walker" in the above video above, for smoothly transitioning through so many accents so quickly. I've known people from all of these places, and she does a decent job with the accents.

But back to the original question. Can you understand people speaking with an accent? I know some people who can't understand anything spoken by someone from a different region. I'm oppositely inclined, having yet to hear an accent I could not adapt my ear to within a few minutes. (Proviso: If there is a speech impediment, all bets are off.)

What's the hardest accent for you to understand? And for another example of trouble with an accent, look at this video of a Kiwi trying to train Vista's speech recognition program.



NatCh said...

The worst time I've ever had with an accent was a chemistry professor from Vietnam -- she spoke with a *very* heavy accent, but the bigger problem was that she spoke with a Vietnamese *rhythm.* Caused me to lose the whole sentence when she hit a word I hadn't previously deciphered, and in chemistry there were plenty of those. "Mu-lee-cue-ler" for examply (molecular). Fortunately, she also repeated everything at least thrice, so I had two more shots at figuring each one out.

Most of the class dropped, but I was one of the 15 or so that stuck it out. Did fairly well, actually.

I'm usually pretty good with accents, in fact, if I don't consciously stop myself, I tend to unintentionally pick them up when I'm around someone who has one -- I had a British scoutmaster years ago, and when I was around him and his son, I would find myself talking like they did.

I'm pretty impressed by "Ms. Walker's" talent, though I must say that her "Texas" was clearly more west than east. (grin)

texasinafrica said...

I'm pretty good with accents, which I guess isn't surprising given all the travel. Whenever I have trouble understanding the accent of someone speaking in English, I need to try to remember how hard it is for them to understand my atrocious accent in their language!

euphrony said...

Definitely a west Texas accent.

I have a friend in Aberdeen, Scotland who is originally from College Station (she married a Scotsman). When I met her the first time it was in Scotland and she didn't know I was from Texas. It was funny to her her accent change from a pseudo-Scots to Texas after she heard me speak.

TiA, with your experience understanding accents is probably a good thing.

JSue said...

I'm pretty good with decifering words from those with accents foreign to my own. I think the hardest for me has always been those from India. When I was still employed outside the home, I worked with several of them in the IT department at our Home Office located in Hartford, CT. I got really good at listening intently (sometimes with eyes closed or at least turning away from the computer screen) to understand what they were trying to convey.

Darn tootin'...that's west TX. We're not near that bad here. Just a little "y'all" from time to time. (okay, all the time) Oh, and the ever annoying "fixin'" (I refuse to use that one unless I'm talking about something that needs to be repaired or prepared!!)

Hot Rod thinks it's hilarious when I get around people with strong accents because I tend to pick them up. (You should hear me around my bonus mom! - I turn into some crazy sounding hick.- Not that SHE sounds bad...) Anyway, he can't wait to take me somewhere like Aberdeen and hear what comes out of me. (I won't go until he can promise me some ice in my drinks!)

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